The Southern Africa Chinese Outreach Network (SACON) is a network of Chinese believers, South Africans who were former workers in China, as well as other local believers who are reaching out to the growing number of Chinese people who have come to Southern Africa. SACON was formed to bring awareness and training about the Chinese to the South African church through learning Chinese culture, basic communication, language skills, and practical ways to befriend and serve the needs of the Chinese people here.
In July, one of the biggest churches in South Africa hosted two events that highlighted the need to reach the Chinese peoples. “Two busloads of Chinese believers of all ages came in their colorful traditional Chinese dress and sang hymns in Mandarin and worshiped through dance. One university student from China shared his testimony about how he came to know the Lord,” says Jenny, an OC worker.
In that same church, some years ago, a member of the church prophesied saying: “We must get ready for the many Chinese who will be coming to South Africa.” In faith, he purchased 2,000 Mandarin Bibles. Now is the time to say to the congregation: “This is your time to take these Bibles and to reach out and give them to the Chinese who are now on your doorstep. We don’t have to go far; just go across the road. The local Chinese people are there, whom God loves, and they desperately need the love of Jesus.”
The next weekend, the church hosted a Chinese Outreach Workshop. Over 60 people attended, with OC workers Karl and Jenny, who helped coordinate the training. “The workshop gave practical ideas for befriending the Chinese, helping to meet the needs that they have as foreigners in a new country, what to do/not do, testimonies from Chinese believers and South African workers who are loving the Chinese in nearby cities, and a time of corporate prayer for specific needs of Chinese all over the world,” Jenny says.
One South African man who is part of the SACON team wrote these words: “I am 62 years young, but not once have I ever experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit as I did yesterday. I know don’t about you, but it was so awesome. Even my daughter was in tears. For me to be part of this team is an absolute blessing. Thank you so much for your love and kindness.”
The workshop brought a new awareness to growing needs of the Chinese community. Jenny says: “Everyone who came walked away with new awareness and changed hearts for the Chinese people. We are grateful for the small seeds that were planted. May many Chinese people come to know the love of Jesus!”
Nestled in South Africa is a huge, unexpected mission field – 700,000 Chinese immigrants who live on the margins of South African community.
Often these Chinese immigrants live in Southern Africa illegally and speak little English. They are often marginalized and harassed by the police. Despite South Africa being a more open nation than China, these people still remain a relatively unreached people group.
Karl and Jenny Teichert of OC Africa played an important role in forming the Southern Africa Chinese Outreach Network (SACON). The OC Africa team partnered with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Operation Mobilization, as well as several South African Chinese-speaking churches, mission workers, and local churches to form this new mission initiative.